A History of Sam Fife’s Move of God Cult

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SAM FIFE’S MOVE OF GOD CULT:

Sam Fife was a former Baptist minister who started his ministry in Florida in the early 1960’s.   He considered himself an apostle by way of a five-fold ministry concept based on the scripture in Ephesians 4:11 which states: So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers.  Sam used very erratic methods in his sermon deliveries, sometimes calm, sometimes angry, raising his voice and screaming, then lowering his voice in these charismatic tactics to keep people rapt into his message.

Project MK Ultra, sometimes referred to as the CIA’s mind control program, was an abusive government program involved in behavioral experiments. It phased itself out as the cult era began to swiftly rise.

Download this 178 page .pdf document of The Select Committee on Intelligence, Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources Project MKUltra, The CIA’s Program Of Research In Behavioral Modification, investigativion held Wednesday, August 3, 1977. Present were Senators Inouye (presiding), Kennedy, Goldwater… well, you get the drift.

The behavioral modification tactics of the MK Ultra Project are mirrored in the abuse tactics used on us children in Sam Fife’s cult.   Sleep deprivation of us children.  Extreme beatings.  Demon possession casting out rituals consisting of being screamed at and beaten at the same time.  Ice baths that lasted hours.  Being forced into cold showers and sometimes beaten naked in the showers. Sexual molestation.

Left in some of our minds is the question of whether this cult and the cult era in general was simply a transition into religious mind control testing.  It takes an incredible amount of mind control tactics to convince hundreds of parents to not only allow, but participate in the violent abuse of their own children, more that the average little old southern evangelist preachers should know.

Sam’s recruiters set up what they called, and still call, body houses, which were basically churches being held in people’s homes.  They used these body houses for the cult recruitment.  They used fear of the end of days as a key component of their recruiting, messages such as the Communists were coming to invade America, using The Cold War as leverage. The messages were coupled with a inferences of love and ego stroking, telling adults who were in the group were chosen by God to live safely in the wilderness communities.  It was also a very Zionist based theology hailing the Jews as God’s chosen people. To date the cult is a big believer of the Abrahamic religion.

This was all going on when the United States was in a very tumultuous time, racial tensions were boiling and a lot of citizens were angry over the Vietnam War. By 1977, Fife’s group was reported in a California newspaper to have around 44,000 followers, after one of Fife’s ministers, Bill Grier, was arrested for performing exorcisms on high school children.  Sam preached that he would never die and if he did, his death was an indication that the end of the world had arrived.  It was reported to us cult members in 1979 that Sam Fife had been killed in a plane wreck in South America, and allegedly no one could ever find proof of this plane wreck.  

After Sam’s death, his teachings lived on through his understudy minister, Buddy Cobb, who revered Sam Fife and continued on with his teachings.  Sam’s teachings are still referenced today by this cult.  Buddy ran his ministry out of Florida and Bowens Mill, GA, which still exists as well.  He travelled around to various compounds preaching and spent a lot of time in Delta Junction, at the cult I was on.  Buddy is elderly and allegedly has Alzheimer’s but many, many abusers are still alive.  So Buddy Cobb’s eventual death does not put an end to the existence of this very intricate and multi-layered cult.

Now that I’ve thrown a skeleton of back information out there, I’d like to take us back a few years to 1972 and talk about the land purchase history of the Ware compound I write about in Cult Child.

On January 3rd of 1972 three men named Donald McClain, Robert Crowell and Leanord Banassek purchased 128.5 acres of land from a man named Fred L. Zajac.  Zajac owned land in other states, like Nevada, where Area 51 is, as well. Before Zajac’s purchase of the Ware, Massachusetts property, there’s not a trail of who owned it prior.  The record drops off to nothing.  I did some research through the Ware Historical Society as well as a personal military friend.  We came to a plausible conclusion that the deed to the land was most likely held by the Army Corps of Engineers and was possibly land that was a former secret military instillation.  During the 60’s and 70’s, some military bases were being privately sold since they were of no more use to the government.  However, they were not up for public auction, so there was an inside connection that had to be held by all of these parties to even know that the land was available for purchase.

Four months later on May 3rd, 1972, McClain, Crowell and Banassek sold the 128 acres of land to Sam Fife’s Mt. Bether Bible Center for one dollar. Crowell is still connected with this cult, and as I understand it is a leader of one of the compounds or churches in the Midwest.

Donald McClain’s son, Doug McClain was a traveling minister with the cult, and also a major player in regards to orchestrating the buying and selling of much of the cult property in Alaska during 1980. His business partner was a man named George Harris.   At this time, Alaska was gearing up to start giving out pipeline dividends to its citizens, so through McClain and Harris, the Sam Fife’s ministry amassed numerous deeds from individuals in Alaska and began building compounds there.  As I’ve been able to research, there were years where Harris and McClain would sell the deeds back and forth to each other for 10 dollars, possibly to avoid tax payments for the church. There are more compounds in Alaska than anywhere else that I know of, and I believe it is specifically because having most of their residents in Alaska allows them to continue collecting on the pipeline dividends since the cult members give over most of their income to the cult leaders’ church associations.

So buying up this land, they were preparing to move as many people as they could up to Alaska to establish residency in preparation for the dividends to start dropping.  We were told that Alaska was a safe place to be if the Communists should invade. However, my estimate is that at about 1000 a head, with over 100 people on each cult compound in Alaska, which were at the time around five, Haines, Hoonah, Edgerton, Sapa North and Living Word Ministry in Delta Junction where I ended up, these cult leaders were at a base, raking in around 500, 000 a year in members’ Alaska pipeline dividends.  That’s a lot of money for a business in the 80’s, and that is just touching the tip of the iceberg in regards to the financial structure of this cult.

The land buying in Alaska specifically seems to have been a very strategic financial move on the part of the cult.  To add on top of it, we were right in the middle of military training and testing installations and frequently were taken to Ft. Greeley. Still today, on Whitestone Farms, Delta Junction, Alaska’s website summary of their history own history, they proudly proclaim how a man named Doug McClain, along with Toby Williams, who was an elder on the compound I was at in Alaska, bought the parcels that Whitestone stands on today.

My reason for sharing all of this information is that I find it is important to build the background of how Sam Fife’s cult compounds were created, how some of the land was acquired and how they have a very, very long history of questionable connections and criminal behavior that has been going on for over 50 years.

RELATED LINKS:

“Wilderness Blues” is a book by T.B. Botts that goes deeper into the actually living conditions on some the compounds.

“The Still Before Dawn” by Suzanne McConnell is the only other book besides my book, Cult Child, that I know of which address that actual child abuse in and of itself.  Suzanne McConnell video story.

Move Forward is a non-profit dedicated to exposing this group and helping survivors.

Sam Fife Cult Survivor Jacqueline Jarvis’ hub page. 

2005 there was a letter written to the Father Ministry addressing the methods and abuse, but it was never answered.  Read it in its entirety.

“The Jane Tapes” are a recording of an actual supposed exorcism of legions of demons.  Sam Fife performed this exorcism on a woman named Jane Miller.  These tapes really show the psychotic aspects of Sam Fife’s personality.  I find the most interesting part to be the very beginning of the alleged exorcism when he uses a bit of a different, more solemn voice to introduce himself and then goes into this very elaborate description, talking about himself in the third person.

Pictured below, the men in the black suits, from left to right: Joe Lane (or Joe Ingles), Phil Martin and Sam Fife with Sam’s private plane (photo from 1968)

Sam Fife and Plane

The intent of the post is to, in the least, consider abuse methodology which mimicked military style torture, the great con of keeping Alaska money going in a circle from a cult to their businesses and back to the cult.